Some people seem to be obvious narcissists. Most of the time, though, it’s not immediately recognizable. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to tell if someone is a narcissist and there are signs that you should take as red flags.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is not very well-studied. There’s still a lot of debate over both the diagnosis and the treatment. There are, however, some common signs that are typically seen with narcissism.
Of course, only a licensed mental health care professional should be the one to give a formal diagnosis, but that doesn’t help you if you’re trying to figure out if the person you’re having trouble with is a narcissist.
Indicators of Narcissism
These seven characteristics are strong indicators you’re dealing with a narcissist.
1. They’ll Do and Say Anything to Prove Their Superiority
Part of the narcissist’s carefully constructed ego is the idea that they are superior to other people. They must build up that image of themselves or they would have to face the frightening truth of being flawed. That’s something they can’t accept.
This causes them to do many things that people without NPD would never do. For example, they might claim to be the driving force behind a multi-million dollar deal even though they were only involved because they typed up the minutes.
Their grand sense of themselves causes them to dream big, but their woefully fragile self-esteem won’t let them follow through to achieve those dreams. That’s why they tell fibs related to their importance.
2. They are Desperate for Attention and Affirmation
It’s critical when dealing with a narcissist to remember that their need for external validation causes them to be desperate for attention and affirmation. They need what is referred to as their ‘narcissistic supply.’
Narcissistic supply basically means attention. They need to be constantly admired and adored. They want your attention and your validation of their superiority. It’s a one-sided and exhausting role to play, because the reality is that they will never get enough.
Despite their bad behavior, narcissists believe themselves to be deserving of the best of everything. They also don’t believe they should really have to work hard to get the best.
When they don’t receive what they believe they should, they often react with drama and child-like tantrums. This also happens when they are expected to carry out certain tasks that they believe to be beneath them, like cleaning the toilet or emptying the trash.
This will feel unfair to you or anyone else in their life since most people don’t believe themselves to be entitled to better treatment without working hard for it. Additionally, if you’re the intimate partner of a narcissist, you’ll end up carrying the majority of the responsibility for keeping things running smoothly.
4. They Don’t Congratulate You, They Sneer at You
Narcissists want the attention to be on them at all times, and thus, if you’ve done something deserving of congratulations, they often just can’t bring themselves to give you those kudos. You’re stealing the attention away from them, after all, and that’s a threat to their narcissistic supply.
They are also envious of others while at the same time thinking that everyone is envious of them. When that envy is tweaked by your achievement, you can expect an insult instead of words of congratulation. These snide comments can do significant damage to your relationship over the years.
5. They Only Contact You When They Need Something
When a narcissist needs or wants something, they will stop at nothing to get it even if that means using you for that purpose. If they don’t need something from you, you often won’t hear from them.
If you’ve got a friend that only shows up when they need something then drops you like a hot potato after they get what they need, that person is probably a narcissist. They can turn on the charm when they need something, too.
This leaves you feeling exploited or used, particularly if you thought the friendship was genuine. Unfortunately, the narcissist isn’t capable of true, intimate friendship. They are just too self-absorbed for that.
6. It’s Always Your Fault
Narcissists excel at the blame game. They are great at turning almost any situation to blame you for whatever happened. They will always portray themselves as the victim, and they use many manipulative tactics to achieve this end.
If you accuse them of something, they will tell you that you’re being too sensitive, and their lack of empathy might even cause them to deny they did any such thing. When they can get you to question your own perception of reality, that’s called gaslighting, and it’s the favorite tool of the narcissist.
If you find yourself always being blamed for everything and told that you’re imagining things when you speak up, you’re probably dealing with a narcissist. This can lead you to lose confidence and feel confused about what you see as reality. That’s exactly what they want.
7. If You Confront Them, They Fly into a Rage
The narcissists simply can’t take criticism because it threatens their fragile and externally validated self-esteem. That’s why they often respond to any criticism with unreasonable rage.
They may scream at you, accuse you of a variety of sins, and even threaten you. This is all part of their aim to distract, blame and shame. It’s another manipulation technique to get you to question what you know to be true.
If you’re around someone who is behaving in these ways, you’re likely dealing with a narcissist. It can be confusing, frustrating and uncomfortable to continue dealing with them. Often, it’s recommended that if you can get away, that’s exactly what you should do.
Though their behaviors are often the result of trauma in childhood, your compassion for them will not solve their problems. They only see your empathy as weakness because they lack that characteristic altogether.
Helping them is nearly impossible, and if you have to stay around them, you’ll need to take steps to protect yourself from their toxic behaviors. It’s important to know what you can do to take care of yourself so that you don’t suffer from their narcissistic abuse.
Once you can identify a narcissist, it’s also a good idea to learn effective techniques to tell them no. Click on the link below this article, and I’ll send a free copy of “5 Must-Know Techniques to Effectively Reject a Narcissist” directly to your inbox.
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